Synthesis of fluorescent nanoprobe with simultaneous response to intracellular pH and Zn2+ for tumor cell distinguishment

Qin Wang, Yupeng Shi, Wandi Chen, Mo Yang, Changqing Yi

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


A novel dual-functional nanoprobe was designed and synthesized by facile assembly of quinoline derivative (PEIQ) and meso-tetra (4-carboxyphenyl) porphine (TCPP) via electrostatic interaction for simultaneous sensing of fluorescence of Zn2+ and pH. Under the single-wavelength excitation at 400 nm, this nanoprobe not only exhibits “OFF-ON” green fluorescence at 512 nm by specific PEIQ-Zn2+ chelation, but also presents red fluorescence enhancement at 654 nm by H+-triggered TCPP release. The nanoprobe demonstrated excellent sensing performance with a good linear range (Zn2+, 1–40 μM; pH, 5.0–8.0), low detection limit (Zn2+, 0.88 μM), and simultaneous response towards Zn2+ and pH in pure aqueous solution within 2 min. More importantly, this dual-functional nanoprobe demonstrates the capability of discerning cancerous cells from normal cells, as evidenced by the fact that cancerous HepG2 cells in tumor microenvironment exhibit substantially higher red fluorescence and significantly lower green fluorescence than normal HL-7702 cells. The simultaneous, real-time fluorescence imaging of multiple analytes in a living system could be significant for cell analysis and tracking, cancer diagnosis, and even fluorescence-guided surgery of tumors. Graphical abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.].

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-9
JournalMicrochimica Acta
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2021


  • Fluorescence nanoprobe
  • Hepatoma
  • HepG2 cells
  • HL-7702 cells
  • Ratiometric fluorescence
  • Supramolecular nanoparticles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry


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